one Jerry Jones has wanted all along.
But this team needs to develop a system, and keep it for years and years. Whether or not the Cowboys lose top assistant coaches to other teams, or lose key players in free agency, they need to have something in place where it's easier to plug guys in.
Until then, the Cowboys have to keep their top players.
So, that steers me back to Witten. This guy is clearly one of their top players and has been since he got here.
You just can't find many tight ends who catch and block like Witten does. And you can look at the current group of tight ends or just anyone who has ever played the position.
I remember about three years ago, Billy Joe DuPree came up to Valley Ranch and was asked by reporters about Witten. DuPree, who was a pretty great player in his own right, gave Witten an ultimate compliment stating he is a combination of Doug Cosbie, Jay Novacek, Jay Saldi and DuPree all rolled into one.
Take the hands of Cosbie, the craftiness of Novacek, the durability of DuPree and the toughness of Saldi, and you've got Witten.
In a way, I think his versatility actually hurts Witten's game a little bit. Because he can block, the Cowboys use him that way. And if the Cowboys ever get into a situation where they need to keep players in to pick up blitzes or simply help on a top pass rusher, there's Witten, sometimes staying in the pocket when the Cowboys need him most to pick up a third down.
The best part of it all, is that you rarely hear Witten complain about it. But trust me, he wants the ball like the rest of them. And lately, he's been getting the ball.
I thought Washington was an interesting game because the Cowboys were down to just Miles Austin and Sam Hurd at receiver. Look what happened when Witten became a top priority in the offense, and even around the goal line.
Too many times this year, it seems Witten is just an afterthought in the offense. It's almost like the Cowboys make sure to get the ball to Miles and Dez and even Roy, and then the running backs, too. And Witten will just take everything that is left over.
Now, Witten is good at that, too. He can get his five or six catches for 48 yards.
But look what happens when the offense is geared toward getting him the ball. Witten catches 10 for 140 and a touchdown.
After the game, Jon Kitna said he sees no reason why the Cowboys can't target Witten anywhere from 10 to 15 times a game.
Agreed. Maybe the Cowboys should consider that scenario. Instead of working on getting the ball to the receivers first and then dumping things to Witten, how about trying to get Witten the ball early and often and see how defenses react to that.
We might actually see a few more deep balls or at least some single coverage on the outside.
Either way, it remains clear that Witten is still one of this team's top players. And at the age of 28, he's not going anywhere for a while.
And regardless of what others might think, that really is a good thing.